Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Don't Let Your Fruitcake End Up Here; an Edible Doorstop? No Way, at Least Not When You're Talking about Any of These Versions of the Traditional, If Not Beloved, Holiday Staple

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Don't Let Your Fruitcake End Up Here; an Edible Doorstop? No Way, at Least Not When You're Talking about Any of These Versions of the Traditional, If Not Beloved, Holiday Staple

Article excerpt

Byline: Dan Macdonald, Times-Union food editor

You like fruitcake?

Are you nuts?

What's not to like about a well-made fruitcake? "Well-made" is the key word. Soft, chewy cake filled with bits of nuts, dried and candied fruit with a hint of rum flavoring. That sounds like a wonderful winter treat. It's a gift worthy of giving or receiving.

Oh, you've never had that fruitcake. The one you ate was hard, dry, filled with tasteless rubber, red, green and yellow things that were as hard as plastic. It was so saturated in cheap rum that a single slice smelled of a distillery.

No wonder you aren't a fan.

The best homemade fruitcakes are prepared in October or early November and left in the refrigerator to ferment once soaked in rum. If you didn't make your own or know someone who did, that leaves you relying on store-bought fruitcake.

The problem is, without tasting, it is hard to tell a good tasting fruitcake from one best suited to be used as a doorstop. With that in mind, a taste test was in order. We bought fruitcakes at the major grocery stores, Walgreen's and from a local bakery, Cinotti's, which is known for its holiday fruitcake.

Our in-house panel then tasted six fruitcakes and ranked them for taste, color and texture. Each fruitcake was assigned a letter so the panel did not know the brand. Each had to receive a number grade of 1 through 6 (1 the favorite, 6 the least favorite). The lowest score would be the winner. The panel chose a winner, but it wasn't a runaway. All six fruitcakes received first-place votes and there were two ties.

The favorite fruitcake was the most expensive. Haute Cuisine Gourmet Dessert Fruitcake ($14.99 for a 24-ounce cake) from Fresh Market beat the fruitcake from the Publix bakery ($5.49 for a 14-ounce cake), which came in second.

There was a third place tie -- Hostess brand Holiday Fruit Cake ($4.78 for 16 ounces) and Goldgift Premium Fruit Cake from Walgreen's ($3.99 for 24 ounces).

There was also a fourth place tie between Cinotti's ($14 for 32 ounces) and Claxton Fruit Cake ($3.99 for 16 ounces).

Only 10 points separated the first-place fruitcake from those tied for fifth.

Visually, the Haute Cuisine fruitcake stood out with its abundant whole chunks of pecans, cashews, walnuts and almonds in a circular cake. It had a light cherry and nut flavor.

One taster said: "Very pretty. It has a hint of vanilla but not too sweet. The whole pecans and almonds make this version special."

The Publix fruitcake was a small dark rectangle. Whole pecans were present on top and throughout the cake. It was moist with a distinct candy flavor from the green candied fruit and the red, round cherry halves.

One person commented: "It has a light, fresh moist taste. Very enjoyable."

The Hostess brand was a slim tan rectangle. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.